September – October

Don’t Forget: The final deadlines for fall medical school admissions begin falling in mid-October. However, many top schools will for all practical purposes have already selected enough candidates to fill their classes before that date.

MCAT:

  • If you took the MCAT in August, scores are being released throughout September. September MCAT scores are being released throughout October; you can call us for a complimentary assessment to ensure you are not applying too late in this cycle. Does your MCAT score allow you to clear the academic qualifications hurdles at your target schools. If not, don’t submit applications for this year. Instead, start working on your positioning for your future applications.

  • Are you unsure if you need a MCAT prep course? Call us at 1.800.809.0800 (+1 703.242.5885 outside the US and Canada) to discuss your situation. We’re here to help you!

School Selection:

  • Narrow down your school choices. It varies widely depending upon individual circumstances, but we often advise our client to apply to at least 12 to 15 different schools.

  • Be sure not to trade quality for quantity. Remember that you’ll be more successful submitting 10 applications that each reflect 100 per cent of your best effort than submitting 20 applications that each reflect only 50 per cent of your best effort.

  • Visit schools. Try to meet with admissions staff and students, if any are available.

Academics:

  • Draw up a checklist of the schools you will need official transcripts from for your primary applications. Find out what you need to do to request an official transcript from each school.

  • Order unofficial copies of your college transcripts for yourself. You’ll use these to refresh your memory about your school performance and position yourself for medical school admission.

Extracurriculars:

  • Extracurricular activities are an important component in medical school admissions. Think about the activities you participate in. Will those activities support your case for medical school admission? What is the best way to spin these activities to optimally advocate your candidacy?

Strategic Positioning:

  • The medical school admissions committees will be taking a hard, critical look at your profile. You must do the same thing first. Only by understanding your candidacy from their perspective, can you best mitigate your weaknesses, highlight your strengths, frame your fit, and employ the ‘wow’ factors that differentiate yourself from the many other highly qualified applicants in your demographic.

  • Your weaknesses. Sometimes it is best not to bring attention to a weakness. Other times, it must be mitigated. Weaknesses can be mitigated in the personal statement, addendum, or letters of reference.

  • Your strengths. You need to become a self promoter but you must balance that against the need to avoid being perceived as arrogant. You also need to prioritize your strengths. Most likely, you will not be able to highlight all of them in adequate detail within your applications.

  • Your story themes and ‘wow’ factors. What are the most important points you need to make about your background, values, beliefs, experiences, and reasons for pursuing med school? Have you adequately prioritized these points? If you attempt to convey too many different points, you risk coming across as disparate and not covering any points in adequate detail to successfully set apart your application. What makes you unique in a way that is going to make any admissions officer just really want to recruit you to their school?

  • Your fit. Why are you a match made in heaven for the specific medical school being targeted? Why will you be a better fit and contribute more to the program and community than the other applicants? Does your application convincingly argue that, if admitted, you will gladly attend the program?

  • If you’re applying to medical schools next year, you need to take a critical inventory of your candidacy. Will you clear the academic qualifications hurdles at the schools you are targeting? Would you benefit from an alternative transcript? Can you find some additional extracurricular activities that will not cast a perception of expediency to the admissions committees?

Primary Applications:

“Putting together a medical school application is a tedious process that takes months to complete – but the time and energy you invest in creating a successful application is a small price to pay for the difference it makes in your chances of acceptance to medical school.”

– Senior Admissions Consultant Wayne Shelton, Ph.D. Wayne served on the admissions committee at Albany Medical College for 12 years and was an adjunct faculty member at Weill Cornell Medical College from 2007 through 2015.

  • August 1 was the Early Decision Program deadline for all AMCAS schools. Primary applications must have been completed by that date.

  • Register with the AMCAS (for allopathic medical schools) and/or the AACOMAS (for osteopathic medical schools).

  • Letters of reference. Will you benefit from an additional, optional recommendation to substantiate a story theme or ‘wow’ factor, highlight your strengths, or, possibly, mitigate your weaknesses? Can your selected recommenders discuss your candidacy in adequate detail? Be proactive and advise your recommenders on what points they need to make to give your applications the best shot. Make sure they know what the timeframes for submitting their letters.

  • Look over your resume/cv. Be sure it is updated and conveys you in an optimal light for the admissions committees. Make sure it is in medical school admission format as well.

  • Finalize your personal statements. Even if you haven’t submitted the primary applications, the content for your personal statements should be nailed down by now and you should be finishing with the grammatical wordsmithing by this stage.

  • Determine if you need to include an addendum to your personal statement. What additional points, if any, do you need to make? If you are attempting to mitigate a weakness, be sure you don’t come across as excusatory or whiney. Doing so will only draw more attention to your flaw.

Secondary Applications:

  • Schools will begin sending secondary application forms to selected applicants in late summer. Look carefully at the instructions that come with each packet you receive. Draw up a schedule of the deadlines and other requirements you need to meet. Remember that it’s to your advantage to apply early to medical schools that use rolling admissions policies.

  • Remember that each of the schools you are targeting are unique and be sure to customize your applications to convincingly show them that you are a great fit with their program.

  • Write your secondary application essays. In addition to customizing to show fit, be sure you have coherent story themes that mitigate weaknesses, highlight strengths, and distinguish you from the many other highly qualified applicants.

  • Schedule your medical school interviews and begin preparing early. Understand how the interview questions will vary depending upon your unique applicant traits.

Our Medical School Admissions Timeline page will be updated on November 1.

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